Carl Jordan Mahaney
Human Centered Designer
You are part of a team working on the design, construction and operations of a workplace on behalf of a Fortune 500 company. Following an early client meeting, the team learns of an additional aspect to the project—the client has earmarked up to 500 sq. ft. for us to “surprise them” with a program element that is ambitious and designed as “a gift to our employees, to support and promote their wellbeing.” The company has given us license to come up with anything so long as we honor their goal.
In preparation for the next client meeting, brainstorm what this could be and lay out a quick description along with a few sketches/diagrams/images to communicate your initial thinking.
I have led design teams from the research phase through project delivery while being responsible for setting and maintaining project schedules and budgets. I'm meticulously organized and understand the importance of communicating clearly and aligning expectations to ensure stakeholders remain on task and on track.
I am well-versed working within established constraints to create emotionally resonant experiences that impact users on a visceral, behavioral, and reflective level. I know intimately that a well-conceived, and well-documented design solution must also be well-crafted to hit its mark.
I’m a skilled listener, practiced at discovering user needs and synthesizing those truths into actionable insights. As an architect I regularly mix semi-structured interviews and contextual inquiry to probe both the functional and emotional context of a design issue to define a rich and relevant problem space.
As a seasoned design professional, it’s second nature for me to quickly and nimbly analyze the countless decisions that animate the design process; to consider options through a critical lens, to anticipate consequences, and to seek additional information and insights when the question at hand is unclear.
From years of creating complex designs from an often vague initial idea, I know a delivered solution is never final and seldom resembles the messy beginnings. I’ve also learned that authorship is irrelevant and an inclusive design process generates the best results; one where no single stakeholder has the market cornered on good ideas.
Making liberal use of sketches and models has been an integral part of my design process for over two decades. From hand drawings to 3D visualizations to full scale mockups, low- and hi-fidelity prototypes allow me to quickly test concepts and effectively communicate those ideas to stakeholders.
Areas of Interest
I'm passionate about issues that materially impact people's quality of life while intrinsically improving access, opportunity, and equity. The case studies I'm currently pursuing are largely focused on discovery and solutions in and around these areas:
Transportation & Mobility
I believe mobility is a human right, alongside housing, education, and healthcare; and that access (or lack of it) is a statement of a society's values and its commitment to its citizens.
The advance of technology represents opportunity for cities as well as enormous risk. A fair and equitable city seeks to co-create these kinds of public goods with its residents (eg its users).
I'm a new father with aging parents in a society that too often marginalizes the very young and the very old. I believe when we design with these groups' needs in mind, everyone benefits.
Owner - Architect
2007 - 2021 / New York City
I lead a versatile, design-oriented practice specializing in energy-efficient, high-performance homes, as well as functional and elegant interiors. I collaborate with a full range of stakeholders to realize highly-detailed, innovative solutions.
2009 - 2016 / New York
Senior architect responsible for design and management of a wide range of residential and commercial projects, including residences in New York and Los Angeles, as well the offices for TED Conferences and Endeavor Global in New York.
2004 - 2009 / New York
Senior consulting architect responsible for design development and technical details on a range of residential projects. Some firms I worked with include: Alex Scott Porter Architecture + Design; John Butterworth Architect; and Project-Space.
2002 - 2004 / New York
Project architect in charge of design development, technical details, and construction administration on a range of design-intensive residential and commercial projects.
Suyama Peterson Deguchi
2000 - 2002 / Seattle
Project architect responsible for schematic design, design development, technical details, and construction administration on several award winning and published projects.
User Experience Designer Certificate
April - June 2019
I recently completed the GA User Experience Designer Circuit course, practicing UX fundamentals on a detailed case study centered around civic participation.
The Interaction Design Foundation
User Experience Designer Certificate
November 2018 - April 2019
As a first formal step in my UX pivot, I completed several certificate courses through IDF focusing on topics of particular interest to me, like: design thinking, user research best practices, and UX management and strategy
Kent State University
Bachelor of Architecture / BS Architecture
1989 - 1994
The architecture program I attended follows a 4 + 1 model: a four year undergraduate degree with focus on architecture, followed by a one year professional, post-graduate architecture degree culminating in capstone thesis project.